How Do Salespeople REALLY Add Value?


Your customer has aggressive growth goals, and is specifically interested in expanding internationally. You are a top-ranked salesperson selling VoIP (Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol) services.

Pop Quiz:

Which of the following examples best demonstrates adding value?

  1. Giving the customer a referral to a consulting firm specializing in international business.
  2. E-mailing an article highlighting the differences between US and Asian business practices.
  3. Selling your company’s solutions to help the customer reduce their domestic and  international calling costs.
  4. Dropping off a dish of candy at the receptionist’s desk with your business card.

Which did you pick? Obviously, all of the choices could be considered ways to add value in certain circumstances.

Now, go back and select the choices your sales team is most likely to execute. Be brutally honest.

Sadly, the choices that are most likely to be executed by most salespeople are numbers 3 & 4. Why is that?

Adding value is unselfish. It takes time. It requires a lot of work. Most of us are busier than we’ve ever been in our lives – both professionally and personally. That doesn’t mean we’re more productive. In fact, many of us have to work harder and do more just to get the same results we achieved in previous years.

This is why we drop off candy and hope that being professional and well-versed in our products and services will be enough to win. It may be enough to scrape by or to be average as long as our competitors take the same approach.

But it’s not enough to grow roots in accounts. Not enough to keep the decision-maker from booting our behinds to the curb when something better comes along. Not enough to make someone want to put their reputation on the line to refer us to their peers and stand up and fight for us when threats arise.

This is why we need to step up and add value. REAL value.

But how?

  • Know what good looks like. Because adding real value takes time, we’ve got to make sure the people we’re calling on are worth the effort. Having an appropriate Target Client List is critical.
  • Know what good looks like for clients. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Since the world is a much different place than it was two years ago, needs and desires may have changed as well. Basing our actions and decisions on outdated assumptions leads to strategies that are out of synch, which erodes closing ratios, profitability and lengthens the sales cycle.
  • Cultivate a strong network. The best time to build relationships is when we don’t have an urgent need. When our guard is down we aren’t rushed and we take the time to invest in relationships unselfishly. When trust is built over time, we can add value and also be bold in asking for assistance. Conversely, if we wait until an urgent need exists, we’ll act selfishly. A former co-worker often said that a salesperson who needs an order gives off a stench. Believe it!

For those in the Chicagoland area, Execution Unlimited LLC will be holding a workshop called “The New Rules of Selling” to discuss actions sales teams can take to be more aligned with their clients in the new economy. We’ll be meeting on April 7th from 8:30 to 10:00 AM in Naperville.

For details or to register, please visit the following link.


About Brian Williamson

I work with salespeople and leaders to get better results by taking a character-based approach. That means Executing by helping others Execute their priorities. I'm also the founder of Testimony & Tunes ( where everyday people share lessons learned through faith, and artists can share tunes that reflect their faith.


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